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Feel Your Life

An old man stood on the edge of a cliff with his head lowered. I jumped off my bike and ran across the rocky terrain to try and stop him.

I begged him not to jump. The old man turned his head slightly to look at me. The wind slapped wisps of gray hair across his face, momentarily underlining his eyes. A warm smile took shape.

“Feel your life,” he said, in a near whisper, then extended his arms like a saint and disappeared in silence.

Years later, I found myself standing on the edge of the same cliff. By then I was married and navigating through the rigmarole of adulthood.

I took a deep breath. The setting sun ignited the marmalade sky, its tapestry of hues offering a moment of calm. I extended my arms and jumped.

The arrow of time slowed to crawl. A roaring sock of cool air enveloped my body. The rock wall passed upwards and I could hear the echoes of seagulls mocking my descent.  Tiny heads below increased in size. I caught a glimpse of their frozen faces, before sinking into oblivion.

I pulled hard through the cocoon of bubbles. Finally, I resurfaced.

The little heads were now cheering faces, congratulating me on my first cliff jump. But only one face mattered.

My wife swam over and hugged me.

The air, the sea, the danger—those few seconds cut away the shackles of the grind and reinvigorated every cell.

That evening I looked out at the dark ocean from the balcony of our hotel room. I remembered the old man and mentally thanked him for his advice… Feel your life.